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The Third Day

Wedding Planner Checklist

Do you know what you need to organise a perfect wedding?

Organising a wedding is an exciting experience that takes months of planning and coordination. With all the excitement and eagerness for the big day the process of planning can become overwhelming. To make the wedding planning process smoother, we’ve created a wedding planning checklist that outlines the different steps that contribute to the successfulness of your wedding day.

The wedding planning guide isn’t set in stone, depending on your needs and wants you may see that certain steps are better either earlier or later in the planning process. This is nothing to stress about as it is just a guide that’s supposed to offer you guidance rather than instruction.

Overview

Sixteen to Nine Months Before

Eight Months Before

Seven to Six Months Before

Five to Four Months Before

Three Months Before

Two Months Before

One Month Before

2 weeks of the Wedding

Week of the Wedding

The day before

The Wedding day

 

Overview

The list is a basic timeline based on a 12 month engagement and planning time, running through the typical timeframes for researching and booking different elements. Although each wedding is different – we’ve shown brides who have organised their whole wedding in just 10 weeks, others take two years (me!) – this planning checklist has general guidelines that will be helpful to every couple. You can also get our three-month planning guide here.

Read through our handy guide, then download your own free printable at the bottom of the page, highlight which ones apply to you, your other half and your wedding, and can tick off the tasks as you go (there’s nothing more satisfying!).

Planning your wedding, whether you have two years or three monthsto do it, can be stressful. If like us, you make endless lists in your head (or on a scrap of paper) only to forget them minutes later, then our Ultimate Wedding Checklist is for you. A step-by-step wedding planning timeline of all the main things you need to do to pull off a fabulous wedding day. Wedding planning can be daunting; doing research, managing a budget, and working out what to do when. So we created a full downloadable list of all the essential things you will need to do, from finding a wedding venue to going dress shopping, and planning a honeymoon to organising the RSVP list.

Sixteen to Nine Months Before

Start a wedding folder or binder.
Begin leafing through bridal, lifestyle, fashion, gardening, design, and food magazines for inspiration.

Work out your budget.
Determine how much you have to spend, based on your families’ contributions and your own.

Pick your wedding party.
As soon as you’re engaged, people will start wondering who’s in.

Start the guest list.
Make a head count database to use throughout your planning process, with columns for contact info, RSVPs, gifts, and any other relevant information. (Want to keep costs low? It may be brutal, but the best way to do it is to reduce your guest list.)

Hire a planner, if desired.
A planner will have relationships with—and insights about—vendors.

Reserve your date and venues.
Decide whether to have separate locations for the ceremony and the reception, factoring in travel time between the two places.

Book your officiant.
Research photographers, bands, florists, and caterers.
Keep their contact information in your binder.

Throw an engagement party, if you wish.
But remember that your invitees should be on your wedding guest list as well.

Choose a date (or up to 3 so you can be flexible).
Talk budget and decide who is contributing what.
Discover your wedding style. Take our quiz!
Choose wedding party:
Maid of Honor and Bridesmaids, Best Man and Groomsmen, Flower Girl and Ring Bearer.
Create a wedding website.
Get engagement ring insured and
consider purchasing wedding insurance.
Explore ceremony and reception venue options.
Start assembling a team of wedding pros:
planner, photographer, videographer, caterer, florist, and musicians.

Begin compiling a guest list.
Browse wedding dress and veil styles.
Create wedding and style boards on Pinterest.
Follow MagnetStreet for ideas!
Get discounts! Subscribe to MagnetStreet’s e-newsletter, for wedding stationery deals.
Get engagement photos taken.
Start browsing Save the Date designs to find your favorite shape and size.
See your design in person! Order Just One® Save the Date.
Order your Save the Dates. Check our current promotions to seize the deal!

Choose bridal party attire and accessories.
Reserve ceremony and reception venues.
Book officiant.
Hire photographer, videographer, caterer, DJ/band, florist, and planner.
Mail your Save the Dates.
Purchase wedding dress, veil and undergarments.
Establish a fitness routine.
Establish a skin care/beauty routine

Determine your budget

It’s time to do the math and crunch some not-so-fun numbers. Before you can start anything, you have to figure out who’s paying for what and determine your wedding’s bottom line. From there, you’ll want to break down said budget—what’s a priority? What’s not?—and start allocating funds accordingly. (A little market research here comes in handy.) And since these numbers will change as you plan, it’s smart to start a detailed spreadsheetfrom the get-go. This will help you keep track of your spending and make it easy to adjust numbers along the way.
Make a guest list

If only you could invite any and everyone, right?! Chances are, you can’t, which is why you have to put a cap on dishing out invites. When deciding your head count, consider your budget (how much can you afford?) and your venue (how many people does it fit?). Also, who’s paying for what? From there, figure out how you’re going to divvy up the list. If you and your partner are footing the bill, assume you’ll get 70 percent of the invites, while both sets of parents will split the other 30. But if mom and dad are contributing, it’s protocol to give all involved parties—your parents, your partner’s parents, you as a couple—one third each. Next comes cutting, negotiating, and cutting some more until you reach a final number.
Hire a wedding planner

Again, this will depend on your budget. (Fair warning: Most everything will!) But if your funds allow—or if your peace of mind depends on it—now is the time to tap the manager of your big day. This person will be your right-hand woman (or man!) and will guide you in all decisions, from selecting a venue to tracking your budget and handling all the logistics.
Decide formality and overall theme

Now’s the time to sit down and have another heart-to-heart convo with your partner. After all, the vibe of your wedding needs to be a mutual decision between the two guests of honor. To get the conversation flowing, pour a glass of wine/water/tea and ask yourself: What’s important to you and why? What do you value? Also, know that your venue—more on that, below—is going to affect all of this. (Because, in most cases, we’d argue against a glam, black-tie theme for a barn wedding.)

Select the venue

OK, you know who you’re marrying. Now the real question is where? Trust us: Choosing the venue is one of the most important decisions you’ll make right now. Seriously, the location affects almost everything else, from how many people you invite to what kind of flowers go on the table. Chances are, it’s also the biggest chunk of change you’ve put down, like ever. That’s why you want to explore your options, visit the top contenders, and ultimately select a place that fits your guest count, style, and budget. (Here are the best venues we’d recommend again and again). But when push comes to shove: Throw out that pros and cons list and trust your gut. This decision is about how you feel when you’re there.
Select the caterer

Your wedding is the best (and largest) dinner party of your life. So how exactly do you feed 150 of your nearest and dearest? Well, start with hiring people you trust to deliver—whether that’s the venue’s in-house caterer, a preferred caterer recommended by your planner, or even your favorite taco truck. And don’t be afraid to get creative with your menu! Your guests will enjoy tasting your favorite cocktail as much as they will your grandma’s blueberry pie.

Choose color theme and start thinking of overall design

Pull up your Pinterest boards, people! It’s finally time to gather inspiration, select a color palette, and create a mood board. If you’re struggling for inspo, planner Jessica Sloane recommends taking a step back to look at things that are already in your world—like how you’ve decorated your house, what you are liking on Instagram, etc.—and draw inspiration from that.

Hire vendors who book up quickly, including your photographer, band, DJ, and videographer

These are the people who will make your night fun—and all those memories last forever (AKA, they’re important). Do your research before you hire, ask all the right questions, and maybe even “date” your photographer. Seriously, this could be the start of a beautiful friendship.

Start shopping for your wedding dress

You may know exactly what you want or you might not, which is OK too. To get you started, here’s an ultimate guide to dress shopping. Also, visit these places in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York City—because finding a gown may be trial-and-error, but finding a salon shouldn’t be.
Book hotel-room blocks for guests

It’s a thoughtful gesture to block out rooms (and secure a discounted rate) for your guests. Here’s everything you need to know.
Create your wedding website

Get your site running now because you’ll need to put the URL on save-the-dates next month. Follow these rules and make it pretty using Riley & Grey, Squarespace, or Appy Couple.
Take engagement photos

Now is a great time to practice being in front of the camera, especially since most photographers include a session in your package. But don’t fret: We have three tips for the camera shy.
Start looking at invitations

The wedding invitation is a guest’s first impression of your big day! That’s why you want to put your best foot forward with a personalized preview. If you’re going custom, start working with a graphic designer or stationer now to create your dream suite. If you’re going for a less involved route, you can wait until the six-month mark. (Invites will be sent out just six to eight weeks prior to the big day.) Here are 10 of our favorite sites to look for invites.

Buy your wedding dress

It’s time to say yes to the dress if you want to avoid rush fees.

Send save-the-dates

Let everyone officially know when and where you’re making it official. And remember: Everyone who gets a save-the-date gets a wedding invite. No exceptions.

Eight Months Before

Hire the photographer and the videographer.
No need to talk specifics yet, but be sure that the people you hire are open to doing the shots that you want.

Book the entertainment.
Attend gigs of potential acts to see how they perform in front of audiences, then reserve your favorite.

Meet caterers.
If your wedding venue doesn’t offer its own catering service, look for one now and hire the service this month or early next.

Purchase a dress.
You’ll need to schedule time for at least three fittings. Veil shopping can be postponed for another two to three months.

Reserve a block of hotel rooms for out-of-town guests.
Pick three hotels at different price points close to the reception venue.

Register.
Sign up at a minimum of three retailers.

Launch a wedding website.
Create your personal page through a free provider such as weddingchannel.com. Note the date of the wedding, travel information, and accommodations. Then send the link to invitees.

Find 3 hotels (at different price points) for out-of-town guests.
Refine guest list.
Create gift registries at 3 national retailers.
Browse Wedding Invitation designs and coordinating stationery
(Enclosures, Programs, Menu Cards, Thank Yous, and Favors).
Begin planning honeymoon

Register for gifts

Involve your partner this one—after all, you two are building a life (and home) together. When registering, it’s smart to ask for staples—like sheets and pots and pans, and so on—but it’s even more genius to think about what you really want. Are you adventurers? Aspiring chefs? Charity givers? Consider your hobbies and tailor your registry to your soon-to-be-married lifestyle.
Select the bridesmaids’ dresses and schedule fittings within the month

After browsing Brides.com for initial research, ask your bridesmaids to come shopping with you IRL—if they live close by. It will be helpful for you to see them in the dresses, and you could even ask how they feel in the options you’re considering. (They do have to wear it in front of a crowd of hundreds, after all!) That said, we’re all about the trend of selecting a color palette—like yellow, grey, burgundy, or white—and letting your girls choose what they want to wear. Even better, check out our guide to perfectly pulling off mismatched dresses.
Meet with potential florists

Much like hiring your other vendors, you want to be simpatico with your florist as well. In order to do that, we suggest polling friends for recs, scrolling through Instagram inspo, and asking your planner/venue coordinator who they recommend in the area. It’s important that you find someone who is able to deliver on your vision and budget.

Seven to Six Months Before

Select and purchase invitations.
Hire a calligrapher, if desired. Addressing cards is time-consuming, so you need to budget accordingly.

Start planning a honeymoon.
Make sure that your passports are up-to-date, and schedule doctors’ appointments for any shots you may need.

Shop for bridesmaids’ dresses.
Allow at least six months for the dresses to be ordered and sized.

Meet with the officiant.
Map out the ceremony and confirm that you have all the official documents for the wedding (these vary by county and religion).

Send save-the-date cards.
Reserve structural and electrical necessities.
Book portable toilets for outdoor events, extra chairs if you need them, lighting components, and so on.

Book a florist.
Florists can serve multiple clients on one day, which is why you can wait a little longer to engage one. Plus, at this point, you’ll be firm on what your wedding palette will be.

Arrange transportation.
Consider limos, minibuses, trolleys, and town cars. (But know that low-to-the-ground limos can make entries and exits dicey if you’re wearing a fitted gown.)

Start composing a day-of timeline.
Draw up a schedule of the event and slot in each component (the cake-cutting, the first dance).

Explore wedding day hair and makeup styles.
Meet with officiant to discuss plans for ceremony.
Reserve rentals: chairs, linens, lighting, décor, etc.
Choose cake style and schedule tastings.
Decide on groomsmen attire.
Personalize & order Just One® Wedding Invitation.
Hire ceremony musicians.

Book transportation to and from venues.
Purchase wedding bands.
Order Wedding Invitation Suite. Check our current promotions to seize the deal!
Order Thank You Cards (for gifts that arrive early).

Book the rehearsal-dinner venue

Traditionally, the groom’s family pays for the rehearsal dinner so treat this as an opportunity to impress your future MIL if that’s the case. That said, you still have say in the theme of this party and where it should happen (especially if you’re footing the bill yourself). We love the idea of hosting a family-style dinner at your favorite restaurant—here are some great ones in NYC—or even hosting a casual celebration like a clambake or backyard BBQ. Read this before you start hashing out the details.
Hire the ceremony musicians

If your enlisting the talents of a three-piece band, now’s the time to do so. As for the actual music, we say don’t go generic when you can go personal! Here are 115 song ideas for the processional, 45 for the recessional, and 135 for the ever-important bridal march.
Order rental items, such as specialty chairs, linens, draping, lounge furniture, white dance floor, etc.

You may think of these as “extras,” and we beg you to change this way of thought. Great rentals—check out this guide—essentially act as the good bones of your wedding-day decor. Conclusion: Don’t skimp on upgraded chairs and cozy lounge furniture (your guests will thank you!) if your budget allows.
Hire an officiant

If you aren’t marrying in a house of worship, you’ll need to hire someone to make it official. Couples can use a professional (check local listings online on Thumbtack) or take a more intimate approach and ask a close friend or family member to do the honors.

Hire a lighting technician

The most important detail brides forget about is lighting. Seriously, the bulbs and candles you select are what will ultimately light your perfect venue, make your photos just right, and keep the party going—even after the sun sets. Here are 24 bright ideas. And another of 31 of picture-perfect candle displays.

Five to Four Months Before

Book the rehearsal and rehearsal-dinner venues.
Negotiate the cost and the menu. If you’re planning to host a day-after brunch for guests, book that place as well.

Check on the wedding invitations.
Ask the stationer for samples of the finished invitations and revise them to suit your needs.

Select and order the cake.
Some bakers require a long lead time. Attend several tastings before committing to any baker.

Send your guest list to the host of your shower.
Provided you, ahem, know about the shower.

Purchase wedding shoes and start dress fittings.
Bring the shoes along to your first fitting so the tailor can choose the appropriate length for your gown.

Schedule hair and makeup artists.
Make a few appointments with local experts to try them out. Snap a photo at each so you can compare results.

Choose your music.
What should be playing when the wedding party is announced? During dinner? To kick off the dancing? Keep a running list of what you want—and do not want—played.

Choose flowers for:
wedding party, attendants, venues, cake, etc.
Schedule dress fittings.
Book honeymoon flights and hotels.
Book room for wedding night.
Order wedding cake.
Plan welcome baskets for out-of-town guests.
Prepare {play/do not play} lists for DJ/band.
Finalize wedding guest list.

Assemble rehearsal dinner guest list.
Book rehearsal dinner venue.
Order Rehearsal Dinner Invitations.

Book transportation for guests, if needed

How do you know if it’s needed? Consider your venue’s parking situation, guests’ access to car services or public transportation, and the cost you’re asking them to incur. Good rule of thumb: If it’s going to run them $20 or more—especially if you’ve already asked them to travel for a destination wedding— think about a shuttle bus. Or, some car services, such as Uber, allow you to book rides on others’ behalf. For everything else you need to know about wedding guest transportation, check out our handy guide.
Book the bride and groom’s transportation (limo, specialty car, etc.)

Time to think about you two! Whether you’re into getting in to a stretch Escalade limo, or all about hopping on a tandem bicycle—get around in a style that’s all your own with these 20 creative transportation ideas.
Book the honeymoon

Traditionally, wedding etiquette states the groom plans a surprise honeymoon for the bride. But, if you guys are tag-teaming your honeymoon strategy, try to have things semi-sorted out by this five month mark. That means being on the same page about budget, timing, travel arrangements, and a semblance of an itinerary. You don’t have to schedule every minute, but each of you should share the most important takeaways you want from this trip, and act to ensure those activities will happen. Then, grab our top 13 tips to create the trip of a lifetime.
Buy or rent the groom’s tuxedo

The groom walks out first, remember? Make sure that first impression on your guests is a good one. Step one is choosing between a tux or suit, based on the formality of your wedding, and then deciding whether to buy or rent. When selecting the actual ensemble, focus on fit and function. A well-made outfit will be flattering, but also allow your groom to show off any and all embarrassing dance moves without fear of splitting any seams. Finally, if you’re going the renting route, avoid these five mistakes groomsmen make when renting a tux or suit.
Begin premarital counseling

Whether you come from a religious background or not, pre-marital counseling has worked wonders for countless couples. (The experts say so, and so do the couples.) It’s helpful to have an objective third-party encouraging you to address issues that haven’t come up yet in your relationship. And, counselors can provide you with healthy conflict resolution tactics so you’ll be ready when the inevitable disagreement does present itself. Plus, some states offer a discount on your marriage license if you undergo counseling. Check it out, and here are [seven questions to expect] (https://www.brides.com/story/top-premarital-counselor-questions) from the counselor.

Have your final tasting with the caterer

At this point, you’ve asked your caterer to talk the talk through these questions. Now it’s time to taste what they’re really made of. The tasting has become increasingly important as more and more couples choose to customize everything from their signature cocktails to their desserts. If you’re nervous about heart-eyes obstructing your taste buds’ judgment, bring your planner or consultant. They’ve likely attended dozens of tastings, and will be your clear-eyed troubleshooter—paying attention to the detailing of the food and the attentiveness of the service, while you’re crying over crab cakes to bae about how “It’s just starting to feel so real, you know?” Here’s more info on what to do and what not to do.
Choose your cake

We’ll hit you first with the pinspiration: Check out these gorgeous photos and delicious flavoring descriptions. Now, you and your partner should settle on a look and flavor profile you both love. Don’t stress about pleasing every one of your guests! This is your cake as a couple; it’s about expressing you guys! (You can also consider a groom’s cake.) Got the cake(s) decided? You need a baker. Find a reputable one who’s available on your date, and happy to take on your dream design for an equally dreamy price. (Ask them these questions and here’s what to expect at your cake tasting!)
Buy wedding bands

Does your fiancé (or you!) know the difference between an engagement ring and a wedding band? Read up, and then look through some of our favorites for him and her.
Select groomsmen’s attire and schedule fittings within the month

Do you want the groom and his guys to be matchy-matchy? How can you [ensure the entire entourage gets fitted on time],(https://www.brides.com/story/groomsmen-fitting-etiquette) if they live all over the place? What else could go wrong? Breathe. You’ve got this, and don’t be afraid to get the groom involved. He may be able to easily pull rank and get his men in line—a very neat, orderly, and well-dressed one, at that.
Hair and makeup trial

Help your stylists help you by researching some particulars before you come in for your trials. Look back at old photos of yourself so you can find something that’s worked before and ensures you still look like yourself. Next, feel free to search social media for other inspiration; just don’t delude yourself with highly-filtered Instagram expectations.
Bring photos and be as specific as possible about what you want and don’t want. And if the whole thing still turns out a disaster, we’ve got advice for that too: our Hair and Makeup Trial Did Not Go Well — Now What? story has you covered.

Three Months Before

Finalize the menu and flowers.
You’ll want to wait until now to see what will be available, since food and flowers are affected by season.

Order favors, if desired.
Some safe bets: monogrammed cookies or a treat that represents your city or region. If you’re planning to have welcome baskets for out-of-town guests, plan those now too.

Make a list of the people giving toasts.
Which loved ones would you like to have speak at the reception? Ask them now.

Finalize the readings.
Determine what you would like to have read at the ceremony—and whom you wish to do the readings.

Purchase your undergarments.
And schedule your second fitting.

Finalize the order of the ceremony and the reception.
Print menu cards, if you like, as well as programs.
No need to go to a printer, if that’s not in your budget: You can easily create these on your computer.

Purchase the rings.
This will give you time for resizing and engraving.

Send your event schedule to the vendors.
Giving them a first draft now allows ample time for tweaks and feedback.

Finalize honeymoon plans and ensure all documents are in order.
Plan ceremony and reception seating.
Experiment with hair and veil with stylist.
Finalize readers and readings.
Purchase: toasting flutes, serving pieces, guestbook, flower basket and ring bearer pillow.
Finalize reception menu.
Order Menu Cards.
Order Wedding Favors.

Order the invitations and hire calligrapher

There are a few ground rules when it comes to ordering your wedding invitations: order enough of them and account for some mistakes, make sure they will arrive in time, set up a system for recording RSVP replies, and confirm all addresses and spelling. But when it comes to design and wording, the options are endless. Need a little advice to rein it all in? Keep reminding yourself that the theme of your invites should match the vibe of your wedding and express you as a couple. If you commission a calligrapher, here’s everything you need to know about calligraphy. Make sure your calligrapher knows it too, and can prove it before booking him or her.
Create or plan your menu

Once you’ve undergone a successful tasting, you’ll have a good sense of your caterer’s style and offerings, so you’re ready to finalize your food! Maybe you’re the couple who’s hand-selected every hors d’oeuvres, main, side, dessert, and drink situation. Or, perhaps you just told your chef to “handle it” and called it a day. Either way, now is the time to stamp your approval on a completed menu that fits your budget, tastes, and timing. We present: Everything That Needs to Be Considered When Selecting Your Wedding Menu

Brainstorm guest favors and gift bags

You don’t have to do favors or gift bags, but now’s the time to decide. Here are some of our favorite options for favors, and these are Lauren Conrad’s thoughts on welcome bags. Go forth!
Book a photo-booth rental

Photo booths have become a reception staple, but if you’re hoping for something with a little more pizzazz than your standard step-and-shoot, check out these seven creative alternatives.
Write your vows

If you’ve opted to write your own promises to one another, start thinking about what those should sound like for you two as a couple. Traditional? Tear-jerking? Feminist? Fill-in-the-blank? Millennial? Pop-culture inspired? We’ve got guides for them all.
Select readings

Bible versus are an obvious choice here (Thanks, Mandy Moore a la Walk to Remember), but there are plenty of non-religious options as well. If you’d like for your readers to choose their own, make sure you give them as much guidance as possible.
Meet with the officiant and invite him or her to the rehearsal dinner

Lots of things to consider when asking someone to marry you, but your main concerns are availability, eligibility, fee and fit. Can your officiant of choice lawfully, affordably, and meaningfully help you two become one? Once you’ve chosen, make sure he or she is on the same page as you about your expectations and the overall tone you want for your ceremony. And if you’ve recruited a recently-ordained bestie to head up the charge, here’s an article on how to perform and officiate a wedding ceremony” you can send along.
Start crafting any DIY items if you haven’t already

Whew! Let’s hope you were able to control yourself scrolling through our DIY inspo and only have a few projects to tackle at this point. (Read this if you’re overwhelmed.). Get to crafting—and make it anything but crappy with good friends, good music, good food, and good breaks regularly!

Two Months Before

Touch base again with all the vendors.
Make sure any questions you or they had on your first draft have been answered.

Meet with the photographer.
Discuss specific shots, and walk through the locations to note spots that appeal to you.

Review the playlist with the band or deejay.
Though you probably won’t be able to dictate every single song played, you should come prepared with a wish list.

Send out the invitations.
The rule of thumb: Mail invitations six to eight weeks before the ceremony, setting the RSVP cutoff at three weeks after the postmark date.

Submit a newspaper wedding announcement.
If you’re planning to include a photograph, check the publication’s website: Some have strict rules about how the photo should look.

Enjoy a bachelorette party.
Arranging a night out with your girlfriends generally falls to the maid of honor. But if she hasn’t mentioned one to you by now, feel free to ask—for scheduling purposes, of course!—if a celebration is in the works.

Mail Wedding Invitations.
Develop system for organizing RSVPs.
Begin writing vows.
Review ceremony details with officiant.
Lay out the content for Wedding Programs.
Apply for marriage license: order 2-3 extra.
Finalize seating arrangements.
Finalize playlists with musicians.
Finalize fittings for wedding party and parents.

Create wedding day timeline and send to your vendors, officiant and wedding party.
Write out honeymoon itinerary for family at home.
Decide “Something Old, New, Borrowed, Blue.”
Book spa and beauty treatments for you and your bridal party.
Book wedding day transportation.
Purchase gifts for attendants.
Order Just One® Wedding Program.

Send the wedding invitations (with RSVPs due one month before the wedding)

You already did the hard part—the selection process. Now, just print and assemble.
Send out rehearsal-dinner invitations (these can be included with the wedding invitations if you like)

If your partner and his or her family are handling the rehearsal dinner, make sure you give them an accurate list of addresses, and feel free to discuss the design and overall aesthetic of the rehearsal dinner. You don’t want it to be an exact replica of the reception that will follow the next night, but you may also want to confirm you don’t show up to an “eat with your hands” BBQ buffet in black tie.
First dress fitting

We know you’ve been following along on our Ultimate Wedding Dress Shopping Timeline, but just to remind you: your first fitting should be anywhere between two to three months after ordering, and your second one around the six-week mark. More questions? Here’s an exclusive interview with Monique Lhuillier’s Director of Alterations on how to have the “perfect” wedding dress fitting.
Pick up your marriage license

Ah, the fine print. There are five things to know when getting your marriage license: 1) Where to go 2) What to bring 3) How Much It’ll Cost 4) How Long It’ll Take 5) How Long It’ll Last.
Every state has different laws and requirements, so Google yours. If you’re having a destination wedding, whether domestic or international, you’ll need to research those paperwork requirements as well. Then, make sure you as a couple, your witness(es), and your officiant sign it! (Here’s what to do if, God forbid, you lose it!)
Buy wedding-party gifts

How much you spend on your bridesmaids gifts is determined on an individual basis, but no matter your price point, your goal should be something that’s as thoughtful, functional, and personalized as possible. Here are some suggestions from real brides, from real MoHs, and from the BRIDES team.
Do a floral mock-up with your florist

Floral samples vary depending on your florist and your own wedding decor choices, but most of the time they’ll include a mock reception table set-up, centerpiece, and bouquet. Now is also the time to talk tweaks and finalize your delivery and care strategy.
Give the song selections to your band or DJ

Guys, if you need music suggestions, please hit us up:

105 Wedding Entrance Songs to Start the Reception Off with a Bang
The 200+ Most Requested Wedding Songs of All Time
Listen to the Most Popular Wedding Song in Every State
Give the song selections to your ceremony musicians

We’ve got suggestions on ceremony music, too:

25 Best Classical Music Wedding Songs
45 Wedding Recessional Songs You’ll Love
115 Wedding Processional Songs to Set the Tone for a Magical Day
Buy all small items

Just off the top of our heads, those include table numbers, toasting flutes, cake topper, cake stand, cake knife, guest book, card box, ring-bearer accessories, flower-girl accessories, a cute hanger for your dress, and a garter. Also consider purchasing pashminas, flip-flops, and/or sunglasses for guests to change into at the reception, as well as baskets to hold them. Then, don’t forget your signs (“Welcome,” “Guest Book,” “Dancing Shoes,” etc.)!

One Month Before

Enter RSVPs into your guest-list database.
Phone people who have not yet responded.

Get your marriage license.
The process can take up to six days, but it’s good to give yourself some leeway. If you are changing your name, order several copies.

Mail the rehearsal-dinner invitations.
Visit the dressmaker for (with luck!) your last dress fitting.
For peace of mind, you may want to schedule a fitting the week of your wedding. You can always cancel the appointment if you try on the dress then and it fits perfectly.

Stock the bar.
Now that you have a firm head count you can order accordingly.

Send out as many final payments as you can.
Confirm times for hair and makeup and all vendors.
E-mail and print directions for drivers of transport vehicles.
This gives the chauffeurs ample time to navigate a route.

Assign seating.
Draw out table shapes on a layout of the room to help plan place settings. Write the names of female guests on pink sticky notes and the names of male guests on blue sticky notes so you can move people about without resketching the entire setting.

Purchase bridesmaids’ gifts.
You’ll present them at the rehearsal dinner.

Write vows, if necessary.
Get your hair cut and colored, if desired.

Call vendors to confirm date, times and location.
Confirm honeymoon reservations.
Pack for honeymoon.
Pick up wedding rings.
Pick up marriage license
Order Wedding Programs.
Final dress fitting (with shoes & undergarments).
Write Thank You notes as gifts are received.

Assemble gift bags

Follow the same guidelines as you did for your DIY projects to ensure this task is fun, not frustrating.

Pay your vendors in full

The last awkward situation you want to deal with right before your wedding day is a vendor chasing money. Avoid that by keeping careful track of when and how much you pay each vendor. If there are some vendors who must be paid the day-of, or you’re distributing tips, give your most trusted bridesmaid or relative a heads-up that come wedding day, you’ll be counting on them to handle the labeled envelopes you’re going to put together.
Create a seating chart

You thought the guest list was a pain in the hiney, and now you’ve arrived at the seating chart challenge—another daunting balancing act of relationships, egos, potential, and crisis-management. You’ll want to think about your venue’s floor plan, whether or not you’ll have a head table and who will be sitting at it, and choosing a cool design. Here are twelve tips for creating the perfect wedding seating chart, and a digital planning guide, in case that helps too.
Order or make your escort cards and place cards

First, you should know the difference. While both place cards and escort cards designate where each guest will be seated at a wedding, place cards are more specific—and also more formal—than escort cards. A place card not only directs guests to the table where each will sit during the reception, but also points each guest to his or her particular seat at the table. Whichever you choose, you’ll want your cards to complement the overall theme of your wedding, but again, the possibilities are unlimited. Here are some tips for making the process as stress-free as possible.
Have a final venue walk-through

Make a list of questions beforehand, and bring your planner or another close friend or family member to bring up anything you forget.

Put cash in tip envelopes for your planner/delegate to distribute

Remember those labeled envelopes we talked about for last-minute checks or tips? (By the way, here’s a complete tipping guide on much and to whom). Primarily, you don’t need to tip people who own their own business—such as photographers, videographers, and florists. It’s customary to tip the following vendors: musicians, DJs, hair stylist, makeup artist, drivers, bartenders, and servers. Many couples tip the wedding planner as well.
Break in your wedding shoes

Walk around your hallways! Dance in your kitchen! Do everything in your power to avoid painful blisters on your wedding night.

2 weeks of the Wedding

Follow up with guests who have not RSVP’d.
Give final count to caterer.
Update registries.
Begin breaking in wedding shoes.
Make arrangements for the caring of pets and plants while on honeymoon.
Send playlists to DJ/band/ceremony musicians.
Get final haircut and color.
Delegate wedding day duties: gift table, guestbook, etc.
Delegate someone to return tuxes, rentals and tend to wedding dress.
Send directions to wedding day limo/transportation driver.

Week of the Wedding

Reconfirm arrival times with vendors.
Delegate small wedding-day tasks.
Choose someone to bustle your dress, someone to carry your things, someone to be in charge of gifts (especially the enveloped sort), someone to hand out tips, and someone to be the point person for each vendor.

Send a timeline to the bridal party.
Include every member’s contact information, along with the point people you’ve asked to deal with the vendors, if problems arise.

Pick up your dress.
Or make arrangements for a delivery.

Check in one last time with the photographer.
Supply him or her with a list of moments you want captured on film.

Set aside checks for the vendors.
And put tips in envelopes to be handed out at the event.

Book a spa treatment.
Make an appontment for a manicure and a pedicure the day before the wedding. (You might want to get a stress-relieving massage, too.)

Send the final guest list to the caterer and all venues hosting your wedding-related events.
Typically, companies close their lists 72 hours in advance.

Break in your shoes.
Assemble and distribute the welcome baskets.
Pack for your honeymoon.

Prepare final payments to vendors + cash tips for service personnel.
Give readers their scripts.
Give photographer and videographer your image and video requests
Lay out wedding clothes.
Prepare wedding day emergency kit.
Get spa treatments for you and the bridal party.

Take care of things like:

Refreshing your hair color

Getting your eyebrows done

Manicure/pedicure

Getting a massage (why not make it a couple’s massage?)

Final dress fitting (a friend or bridesmaid should come with you so she can learn how to bustle if your dress requires it.)

Pack your bags for the honeymoon (don’t forget your passport if you’re leaving the country!), and confirm your travel arrangements

Any edible crafting! Yum!

Clean your ring (head to your jeweler to get your engagement ring professionally clean so it’s extra sparkly on your wedding day.)

Chase any RSVP stragglers and deliver the final head count

Clear your work to-do list so you can only focus on wedding festivities and take it all in!

Practice your vows out loud

Write your partner a note

The day before

Deliver welcome baskets.
Get mani/pedi/massage.
Attend wedding rehearsal.
Have fun at the rehearsal dinner.
Get to bed at a decent hour!

Eat a healthy meal

Pack a clutch or small big of personal items

Drink water

Get a good night’s sleep

Put any boxes, suitcases, bags, and survival kits to bring to the ceremony or reception in the car. (You’ll thank us tomorrow!)

 

The Wedding day

Eat a good breakfast! Allow yourself plenty of time to get ready.
Give wedding rings and officiant fee to best man.
Relax, smile, and soak in every moment.
10 Secrets to a Happy Marriage

Stay off your feet as much as possible

Eat breakfast

Drink even more water

Take your dress and veil out of the bag early on and have someone steam them if needed

Lay out all the items (rings, invitations, etc.) that you want your photographer to capture

Exchange notes with your partner

Say thank you to everyone around you!

Conclusion

Ensure tuxes and rentals have been returned.
Get wedding dress to preservationist or cleaners.
Order Thank You Cards (include a wedding photo).
Order Personalized Stationery with your new last name.
Put your favorite wedding photo on a beautiful Custom Canvas.

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